Lighthouses always are some really picturesque spots, and when on road trips we always try to a lighthouse nearby. When exploring our home state make sure to check out some of the best lighthouses in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin sits on both Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. The Great Lakes are so large that you’ll find a ton of great lighthouses. These Wisconsin lighthouses come in different colors, and sizes and all overlook a unique location.
With nearly 50 lighthouses along the Wisconsin coast, we’ve narrowed it down to the top 11 Wisconsin lighthouses. Check out these 10 best lighthouses in Wisconsin.
How many lighthouses are there in Wisconsin?
There are 48 lighthouses in Wisconsin, most of which are found on Lake Michigan’s shoreline. Around one-third of the lighthouses in Wisconsin are found on Lake Superior. So, whether you’re heading to northern Wisconsin or to Lake Michigan you can see lighthouses.
What’s the oldest lighthouse in Wisconsin?
Pottawatomie Lighthouse or Rock Island Light is the oldest of all the Wisconsin Lighthouses. The lighthouse was first lit in 1836 and sits at the tip of the Door Peninsula. For more than one hundred years the lighthouse was manned by civilians. During the 1940s the US Coast Guard took over the lighthouse.
1. North Point Lighthouse
Of the best lighthouses in Wisconsin, North Point is a fun day trip activity. If you are visiting Milwaukee, you’ve really got to check out North Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse also has a museum so it’s the perfect Wisconsin attraction for the family.
The museum focuses on sharing the history of lighthouses in Milwaukee. You can discover a bunch of artifacts and read local stories. There’s even a gift shop if you want to pick up a Milwaukee lighthouse souvenir.
Be your own guide, or take a tour, you can also climb up the lighthouse tower. When at the top you’ll get brilliant views of Lake Michigan and Milwaukee.
At one point in time, North Point was the highest of the Great Lakes lighthouses. Built in 1855 the beacon stands at 107 feet.
- Address: 2650 N Wahl Ave, Milwaukee
2. Windpoint Lighthouse
Just north of Racine, there’s the chalky-white Windpoint Lighthouse. This lighthouse wouldn’t look out of place in New England. It’s one of those quintessential-looking lighthouses.
Windpoint Lighthouse stands at 108-foot tall and was built in 1880. It’s included on the National Register of Historic Places and is well worth a visit.
It’s not all lighthouses that you can go inside, but at Windpoint you can. There are tours held on the first Sunday of the month between June and October. You can even head up the tower.
This is the perfect Wisconsin attraction to enjoy with the family. Discover the lighthouse’s history as well as see the inner workings of a historic place.
In addition to exploring inside the lighthouse make sure you check out its surroundings. The immediate park and beach are perfect for spending a few hours. Views of the lighthouse from the beach and park are fantastic photography spots.
- Address: 4725 Lighthouse Dr, Racine
3. Kenosha North Pier Light
This cute, stumpy, red lighthouse is a recognizable Wisconsin landmark. Kenosha is home to two lighthouses, North Pier Light and Southport Lighthouse. North Pier Light stands at 50 feet tall and was built in 1906.
North Pier Light is still an active operational lighthouse and serves the Kenosha Harbor. North Pier Light is home to the Kenosha Lighthouse Studio. Though this lighthouse is small, it remarkably has a community-based art gallery inside. Between late spring and summer artists work inside, so be sure to check it out.
Walk down the pier towards this iconic red lighthouse and see what’s inside. On a beautiful blue sky day this is a great place to take photographs.
- Address: Simons Island Park, Kenosha
4. Wisconsin Point Lighthouse
Visit Lake Superior and you’ll find Wisconsin Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse is right on the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota. Also known as Superior Entry Lighthouse, it sits right on Wisconsin Point.
This is a great location to spend a few hours absorbing the natural surroundings. The lighthouse sits at the end of a concrete walkway and is a perfect sunset destination. Though you can’t go inside Wisconsin Point Lighthouse it’s still well worth a visit.
Photographers enjoy heading to Wisconsin Point at sunset, where you can get beautiful silhouette photos.
- Address: Wisconsin Point, Superior
5. Sturgeon Bay Lighthouse
Sturgeon Bay Lighthouse is at the end of the Sturgeon Bay ship canal. Drive around Door County and you’ll discover a few lighthouses. Sturgeon Bay is one of the more famous lighthouse names in the area.
There are two lighthouses at the mouth of the canal at Lake Michigan. Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Lighthouse and North Pierhead Lighthouse are right next to each other.
As the lighthouse is still in operation you are not allowed inside. However, it’s an interesting visit just from the outside. It’s got a far more edgy and industrial vibe than some of the other Wisconsin lighthouses. One of the best times to visit this part of Wisconsin is in Fall. Beautiful Fall foliage makes for a lovely trip to Sturgeon Bay.
- Address: 2501 Canal Rd, Sturgeon Bay
6. Neenah Lighthouse
Not all of Wisconsin’s lighthouses are found on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. Neenah Lighthouse is located at Kimberly Point on Lake Winnebago.
Interestingly, Neenah Lighthouse was funded by the owners of Kleenex. The lighthouse is also known as the Kimberly Point Lighthouse, named after the Kimberly family. Though the land for the lighthouse was donated in 1929. It wasn’t until after WW2 that the project actually started.
This white lighthouse tower stands at 49 feet. Wander around Kimberly Point for views of the lighthouse and to visit the historic mansions. Head to North Park Avenue and you can also visit the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass.
- Address: 270 Lakeshore Ave, Neenah
7. Cana Island Lighthouse
This is one of my favorite lighthouses in Wisconsin and is always a fun thing to do in Door County. You can climb to the top of Cana Island Lighthouse and go out on the wrap-around deck. They do monitor how many people are climbing at a time, as the spiral staircase is small and windy. Once at the top you can go out and take in the gorgeous view of Lake Michigan.
Cana Island Lighthouse is only open seasonally, typically this is from May 1 to October 31st. An admission price is charged to enter the grounds and tour the keeper’s house and climb the lighthouse.
- 8800 E Cana Island Rd, Baileys Harbor
7. Racine Breakwater Lighthouse
This tiny red lighthouse is a recognizable part of Racine’s landscape. If you’re looking for the best lighthouses in Wisconsin, you should definitely visit Racine. There are three lighthouses all located close to each other.
Though Windpoint is the most visited of Racine’s lighthouses, Breakwater is still a beautiful destination. This is perhaps one of the most unique Wisconsin lighthouses. This red lighthouse has long red stilts with stairs leading to the inside. At only 45 feet it’s a fairly small lighthouse, but cute all the same.
Interestingly the lighthouse is not in action today. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1987 in favor of Windpoint Lighthouse. The original plan was for this tiny lighthouse to be demolished. However, the general public who loved this lighthouse fought for it to remain. Now it’s a characterful symbol of the city.
- Address: Lake Michigan Pathway, Racine
8. Milwaukee Pierhead Lighthouse
Milwaukee Pierhead Lighthouse is a super Instagrammable location. Many who visit Wisconsin, specifically Milwaukee, head to this red and black lighthouse.
The lighthouse dates to 1872 and its sister lighthouse is the Kenosha North Pier Light. The lighthouse stands at the Milwaukee River, where it flows into Lake Michigan. This lighthouse is solar-powered and automatically operated.
The pier leading to the lighthouse is a popular viewing area. This lakefront area is also popular for fishing, walking, and photography. From the pier, you can also see across to the Breakwater Lighthouse. That’s two lighthouses for the price of one.
In summer why not rent kayaks nearby and paddle up to this enigmatic Milwaukee landmark? If you are looking for things to do in Milwaukee and are staying downtown walk down and check out the lighthouse.
- Address: 2420 S Lincoln Memorial Dr, Milwaukee
9. Bray’s Point
Lake Winnebago is home to not one but two lighthouses. Bray’s Point Lighthouse is a really unique and ornate-looking structure. This is one of the best lighthouses in Wisconsin for its charm and character.
Former Wisconsin State Senator William Bray was responsible for building the lighthouse in 1910. He had tried to convince the government that the lake’s shallow reef necessitated a lighthouse. However, the proposal was rejected, and Bray used his own money to buy land and build the lighthouse.
Of all the things to do in Wisconsin, you’ve got to check out Lake Winnebago. This charming lighthouse is one of the many cool things to see around the lake.
- Address: Bay Shore Dr, Oshkosh
10. Rawley Point
Rawley Point Lighthouse, or Twin River Lighthouse, is one of the most unique Wisconsin lighthouses. This lighthouse almost looks like a skeleton. A single cylindrical tower supports the structure which is encased in bars for extra support. It’s an attractive structure, but it almost looks like they forgot to finish it.
If you want to visit the tallest lighthouse in Wisconsin, then head to Rawley Point. It stands at 111 feet and has must-see expansive views of Lake Michigan. Unfortunately, you cannot go inside, but head to the nearby beach for great views.
- Address: Two Rivers, Wisconsin
What do you think are the best lighthouses in Wisconsin?
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